Animal Control

Pet Care

Recommended Routine Veterinary Care for Dogs

Annually

  • Heartworm preventive - Year-round
  • DHLPP vaccination (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvo virus)
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Dog license

Puppies

  • 2 mos. - DHLPP vaccine
  • 3 mos. - DHLPP booster
  • 4 mos. - DHLPP booster
  • Every 6 mos. - stool check and worming
  • Start Off Right!

    Puppies and dogs often act out of instinctive behavior. So when a child tries to hug a dog around the neck or pet the dog from over his or her head, the dog may feel threatened. Some dogs will growl, snap or bite to stop the hugging. It’s best to teach children to pet underneath the dog’s chin instead.

    TAKE A SEAT 
    Have your child play with the puppy at his level, near the floor, so the pup feels more comfortable. You should encourage your child to sit down whenever he or she is holding the puppy. Puppies tend to wiggle around and could be injured if they fall to the ground.

    TEETHING TROUBLES
    Puppies tend to chew on everything, including hands and arms, when they are teething. Keep a chew toy around at playtime to divert the puppy’s teeth away from your child (or household and clothing items). This will also give the puppy positive reinforcement to playtime or being held by your child.

    FOR THE BIG DOGS
    If you are introducing larger dogs into your family, let your child sit on your lap so the dog can get to know both of you. This allows you to control your child and teach the proper way to pet a dog.

    TREAT TIME
    Some pets get very excited by snacks, and require patience by the person feeding the treats. Children sometimes get nervous when a dog tries to take a treat from their hand, causing the dog to jump or lunge to get the treat, or nip at the child’s hand. Teach your child to put the treat in an open palm, and place your hand underneath your child's hand to help guide him.

    PLAY TIME
    The Kent County Animal Shelter recommends taking your puppy or dog to obedience classes. Activities such as running, jumping or making noise can make a dog react in a similar fashion. Puppies and dogs need to learn appropriate behaviors. For the first few days, make sure children play quietly and calmly with the pet, until they get adjusted to one another. You should teach your pets a command to get them to stop bad behavior when play gets too rough. Don’t punish a dog that misbehaves, as it could make the pet frightened of you or your children.

    Teach your pet what is off-limits. If you catch your dog chewing on something he shouldn't, stop the behavior by making a loud noise. Reward the dog for stopping the bad behavior by giving it a chew toy and verbal praise. Avoid confusing the dog by making toys of old socks, shoes or children's toys that look like items that are off-limits. Dogs can’t tell the difference between the old and items still in use.

  • Healthy Puppies & Dogs

    Once you have your puppy or dog home, it’s time to find a good veterinarian. Starting your pet off with good health habits will be critical to a lifetime of happiness. Talk to friends to find out if they have any recommendations, or check out the American Veterinary Medical Association’s site www.myveterinarian.com for a list of clinics near you.

    1. All puppies need a series of four vaccines for distemper, parvovirus, and several other viral diseases starting at 8 weeks of age with boosters given every three to four weeks until the series is completed.

    2. At four months of age a puppy can receive its first vaccine for Rabies. This vaccine requires a booster in twelve months. All dogs are required to be current on their Rabies vaccination and be licensed at the Kent County Animal Shelter. This license must be renewed annually.

    3. All dogs over seven months of age are tested for heartworm disease at the Kent County Animal Shelter. Year-round heartworm preventative is recommended for all dogs. Puppies should begin preventative by eight weeks of age. All adult dogs should be blood tested for heartworms annually. Consult your veterinarian for appropriate heart worm preventative products.

    4. Pets should have a fecal sample examined annually for parasites.

    5. Pets should receive flea and/or tick preventative seasonally or year-round as recommended by your veterinarian.

    6. Daily tooth brushing and regular dental care is recommended for all pets.

    7. All pets should have annual wellness screenings as well as appropriate booster vaccinations.

    8. Mature pets (older than seven years) should receive semi-annual wellness exams.

    9. All pets receive a microchip for permanent identification before leaving the Kent County Animal Shelter. Please update your registration information as needed to keep your pet current in the national database.

    10. Take the medical history form included in your pet’s adoption packet to your veterinarian to keep your pet current on all its health care needs.

  • Housetraining Your Puppy

    Getting puppies and dogs housetrained is time-consuming, and requires a great deal of patience. Virtually every puppy will have accidents in the house. This is part of raising a puppy and should be expected. By following these procedures, you can minimize house-soiling incidents. Puppies are considered reliably housetrained when it has been two to three months since an accident.

    Establish a Routine

    • Your puppy will do best if he is taken outside on a consistent and frequent schedule, such as when waking up from a nap, after playing and after eating.
    • Choose a location near the door to be the bathroom spot. Always take your puppy, on a leash, directly to the bathroom spot. Taking him for a walk or playing with him directly after he has eliminated will help him to associate good things with elimination. If you clean up an accident in the house, take the soiled rags or paper towels and leave them in the bathroom spot. The smell helps your puppy recognize the area as the place he is supposed to eliminate. While your puppy is eliminating, use a word or phrase, like “go potty,” that you can eventually use before he eliminates to remind him of what he’s supposed to be doing.
    • Praise your puppy lavishly every time he eliminates outdoors. You can even give him a treat. You must praise him or treat him immediately after he’s finished eliminating, not after he comes back inside the house. This step is vital; because rewarding your dog for eliminating outdoors is the only way he’ll know that this is an appropriate behavior.
    • If possible, put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule. Depending on their age, puppies usually need to be fed three or four times a day. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make it more likely that he’ll eliminate at consistent times as well. This makes housetraining easier for both of you.

    Supervise, Supervise, Supervise
    Don’t give your puppy an opportunity to soil in the house. He should be watched at all times when he is indoors. You can tether him to you with a leash or use baby gates to keep him in your view. Watch for signs that he needs to eliminate, like sniffing around or circling. When you see these signs, immediately take him outside, on a leash, to his bathroom spot. If he eliminates, praise him lavishly and reward him with a treat.

    Confinement/Crate Training
    When you’re unable to watch your puppy closely, he should be confined to an area small enough that he won’t want to eliminate there. It should be just big enough for him to comfortably stand, lie down and turn around. This area could be a portion of a bathroom or laundry room, blocked off with boxes or baby gates. Or you may want to crate train your puppy and use the crate to confine him. If your puppy has spent several hours in confinement, make sure to take him directly to his bathroom spot before doing anything else.

    Oops! Expect your puppy to have an accident in the house – it’s a normal part of housetraining.

    • When you catch him in the act of eliminating in the house, do something to interrupt him, like make a startling noise (be careful not to scare him). Immediately take him to his bathroom spot, praise him and give him a treat if he finishes eliminating there.
    • Don’t punish your puppy for eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled area, it’s too late to administer a correction. Do nothing but clean it up. Rubbing your puppy's nose in it, taking him to the spot and scolding him (or any other punishment or discipline) will only make him afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence. Animals don’t understand punishment after the fact, even if it’s only seconds later. Punishment will do more harm than good.
    • Cleaning the soiled area is very important because puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces. Ask your veterinarian to recommend an appropriate enzymatic cleaner. Vinegar, ammonia or household bleach are not effective in completely removing residues.

    It’s extremely important that you use the supervision and confinement procedures outlined above to minimize the number of accidents. If you allow your puppy to eliminate frequently in the house, he’ll get confused about where he’s supposed to eliminate, which will prolong the housetraining process.

    Paper Training
    A puppy under 6 months of age cannot be expected to control his bladder for more than a few hours at a time. If you have to be away from home for more than four or five hours a day, this may not be the best time for you to get a puppy. If you’re already committed to having a puppy and have to be away from home for long periods of time, you’ll need to train your puppy to eliminate in a specific place indoors. Be aware, however, that doing so can prolong the process of teaching him to eliminate outdoors. Teaching your puppy to eliminate on newspaper may create a life-long surface preference, meaning that he may, even in adulthood, eliminate on any newspaper he finds lying around the house.

    Other Types Of House Soiling Problems
    If you’ve consistently followed the housetraining procedures and your puppy continues to eliminate in the house, there may be another reason for his behavior.

    • Medical Problems: House soiling can often be caused by physical problems, such as a urinary tract infection or a parasite infection. Check with your veterinarian to rule out any possibility of disease or illness.
    • Submissive/Excitement Urination: Some dogs, especially young ones, temporarily lose control of their bladders when they become excited or feel threatened. This usually occurs during greetings, intense play or when they’re about to be punished.
    • Territorial Urine-Marking: Dogs sometimes deposit urine or feces, usually in small amounts, to scentmark their territory. Both male and female dogs do this, and it most often occurs when they believe their territory has been invaded.
    • Separation Anxiety. Dogs that become anxious when they’re left alone may house soil as a result. Usually, there are other symptoms, such as destructive behavior or vocalization.
    • Fears or Phobias. When animals become frightened, they may lose control of their bladder and/or bowels. If your puppy is afraid of loud noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, he may house soil when he’s exposed to these sounds.
  • Children & Puppies: Important Information for Parents
    • Puppies require lots of time, patience, socialization and supervision. Take them to new places and have them meet new people.
    • Puppies may become frightened or even injured by curious children who want to constantly pick up, hug, or explore the puppy’s body. Make sure children understand the puppy is somewhat fragile compared to an adult dog.
    • Puppies have sharp teeth and claws, and jump when excited. Be sure to supervise interactions between children and puppies, as to minimize the chances of injuries.
    • Adult dogs generally need less time and attention than puppies. If you have a child under 6 years old, consider adopting a dog that is over 2 years old. While teaching children to take care of their pet teaches them responsibility, you should not expect a child, regardless of age, to handle it alone. Dogs need the basics, but also need playtime, exercise and training. Adults are better-suited for teaching dogs healthy habits, proper behaviors and even a few tricks. Responsible teenagers may seem prepared to take on the task, but should not be expected to be the sole trainer. Bottom line - even if you adopt a dog “for the kids,” the adults in the house must be the dog’s primary caretaker.

    Adapted from material originally developed by applied animal behaviorists at the Dumb Friends League, Denver, Colorado. All rights reserved.

Recommended Routine Veterinary Care for Cats

Annually

  • Rabies vaccine
  • RCP or "3-in-one"; (Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia) vaccine
  • Feline leukemia vaccine

Kittens

  • 2 mos. - 3-in-one (RCP) vaccine
  • 3 mos. - 3-in-one booster, Feline Leukemia vaccine
  • 4 mos. - 3-in-one booster, Feline leukemia booster

Healthy Cats are Happy Cats!
Once you have your kitten or cat home, it’s time to find a good veterinarian. Starting your pet off with good health habits will be critical to a lifetime of happiness. Talk to friends to find out if they have any recommendations, or check out the American Veterinary Medical Association’s site at www.myveterinarian.com  for a list of clinics near you.

  • Health Tips for Kittens & Cats

    1. All kittens need a series of two vaccines for distemper and upper respiratory viral disease beginning at 9 weeks of age and boosters at 12 weeks of age.
    2. At 3 months of age a kitten can receive its first vaccine for Rabies. Cats should receive an annual booster.
    3. All cats and kittens are tested for Feline leukemia/feline immunodeficiency virus at the Kent County Animal Shelter. Please consult your veterinarian for recommendations regarding vaccination for Feline leukemia.
    4. All pets should have a fecal sample examined annually for parasites.
    5. All pets should receive flea and/or tick preventative seasonally or year-round as recommended by your veterinarian.
    6. Daily tooth brushing and regular dental care is recommended for all pets.
    7. All pets should have annual wellness screenings as well as appropriate booster vaccinations.
    8. Mature pets (older than 7 years) should receive semi-annual wellness exams.
    9. All pets receive a microchip for permanent identification before leaving the Kent County Animal Shelter. Please update your registration information as needed to keep your pet current in the national database.

    Please take the medical history form included in your pet’s adoption packet to your veterinarian to keep your pet current on all its health care needs.

  • Litter Boxes

    Indoor kittens and cats need a clean, safe, private place to eliminate waste. Cats are quite clean animals and avoid anything they consider dirty or messy. Most cats try to eliminate in areas of the box where they have not soiled previously, and cover their waste once they finish. To be sure you are providing ample space for the kitten or cat, provide one litter pan per cat plus one in a household. Consider placing one box on each level of the home, especially for older cats.

    You should purchase a litter box that allows your cats to move around it. Larger pans have a bigger area for the cat to eliminate in without stepping in previous waste. Kittens, older cats and cats with health problems may need a box that allows easier entry and exit from the box. Many pet supply shops sell ramps that you can attach to the box to accommodate these felines.

    Kittens and cats are often selective when it comes to the type of kitty litter they prefer. Because they have such a powerful sense of smell, many cats don’t like scented litters. Many cats prefer the fine grain of scoopable litter rather than the hard disposable clay litter. There are many different brands of kitty litter available, but remember that cats don’t like change, and if you try a new brand, the cat might not use it.

    Litter boxes should be placed in private, quiet locations. Cats may startle if they are placed near appliances and air ducts that come on unexpectedly, or where other animals or humans could interrupt.

    Make sure the location of the litter box is easily accessible for the kitten. If it is in a room with a door, use a wedge to keep the door open, to prevent the cat from getting trapped in or out of the area. It may be helpful to place a rug under the litter pan to avoid litter getting scattered around the box.

    Scoop the litter pans daily, and clean them once a week with soap and water. Never use strong smelling cleaners or ammonia, as a cat’s urine contains ammonia compounds, and some cleaners may be toxic to cats.

    Cat Box Rules

    1. Keep one litter box per cat, + 1
    2. Use a box that’s big enough to use easily
    3. Use unscented, clumping litter
    4. Place boxes in private, safe locations
    5. Clean daily

  • Cats & Kids

    Cats can help teach your child a great deal about responsibility and compassion. When bringing a cat or kitten home, make sure your child understands that the pet is a living thing and need to be treated with care.

    • Discuss proper care and handling before the cat comes home.
    • Children should be taught to respect the cat’s needs to eat, sleep, and use the kitty litter box undisturbed.
    • Don’t allow children to chase the cat.
    • NEVER leave young children unattended with the cat.
    • Don’t expect children to assume responsibility for the cat.
  • Why Indoors is Better

    Cats typically prefer a controlled environment. Outdoors, there are predators in unexpected places, from other animals to cars. The Kent County Animal Shelter suggests keeping your cat indoors.

    • Indoor cats are less likely to get fleas, mites, intestinal parasites, fungal infections, and respiratory disease.
    • Indoor cats are less likely to contract fatal diseases such as Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
    • Cats are far less likely to encounter wild animals that transmit rabies or attacks by unknown animals when indoors.
    • Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives.
  • Multiple Pet Homes

    Many families have success in creating a multiple-pet home, but it does have some challenges. Some cats, especially when they are kittens, tend to be social, but older cats may be set in their ways, and don’t want to share territory or attention. Cats should be introduced to other pets in a slow, cautious manner.

    Meeting Another Cat
    Some families find success in keeping the cats separated for the first week or two, one room apart. Feed them on each side of the door so they can associate something they enjoy - eating - with the smell of the other pet. Eventually, you can crack open the door so they can see each other. You can also rub a towel on one animal, then, let the other pick up the scent by placing it near his or her food dish.
    Make sure the first face-to-face meeting is quiet and calming. You want the cats to meet gradually, to avoid anxiety or aggression. If you notice fear or anger, separate them, and start the introduction process again as mentioned above. It is best to have at least one cat confined to a carrier at first.
    Kittens and cats may have different ideas of playtime. They may nip, roll, and get loud, all in fun. If they hiss or fight, make a loud noise or use a squirt bottle with water to separate them. Once they calm down, you can re-introduce them.

    Meeting the Resident Dog
    Dogs can cause a lot of damage to a cat in a fight, and even kill him or her, even when they’re playing. Most dogs want to play with cats, and cats that are not used to dogs may become defensive. Use the same techniques above to introduce a new cat to your resident dog.
    It is helpful if your dog already knows commands like "sit," “down" and "stay." Treats often give dogs motivation to follow commands.
    When you attempt a face-to-face introduction with a dog, make sure to put your dog's leash on, and using treats, have him either sit or lie down and stay. Have someone else bring the cat in a carrier into the other side of the room. Short visits are best at first, so the dog doesn’t get restless. Praise them both in a calm, soothing tone. Repeat this until it seems as if the two can be in the same room together without aggression or fear.

    Make sure your dog understands that chasing your cat or getting rough is unacceptable. Reward your dog for good behavior and following commands, and avoid punishing the dog when the cat is around. The dog could suffer from anxiety around the cat.

    While many cats are picky eaters, dogs like most cat food. Place the cat food in a closet or on a high shelf so the dog can’t get to it. Keep the kitty litter out of the reach of the dog as well. Some dogs will eat cat feces, and while it won’t cause any health issues, it is disgusting for owners to see, and could upset your cat. Placing the litter box behind a baby gate, or in a closet with the door cracked open wide enough for your cat, could restrict access by your dog.

    Sometimes, introductions will not go smoothly. Contact your veterinarian to discuss how to best re-introduce the pets. Remember, even if the pets get into a fight, it is possible for them to mend the relationship, but it requires patience on your end. Punishing the pet could make the situation worse.

    Adapted from material originally developed by applied animal behaviorists at the Dumb Friends League, Denver, Colorado. All rights reserved.